Skimming has become a problem at some less well monitored ATMs and merchant locations such as gas station pumps, especially those in out of the way places. A skimmer is an illegal device placed on the ATM or point-of-sale card slot by criminals attempting to “skim” the account information encoded on your card’s magnetic strip. Usually the skimming device is not readily noticeable. Nearby the skimmer is a tiny camera aimed at the keypad so your PIN can be recorded as you punch it in to make your withdrawal or purchase.
Your best defense: Don’t use infrequently monitored or poorly lit ATMs or gas pumps. Our best advice: Go inside the credit union or bank to use a closely monitored ATM, or use the teller. If you use an outside ATM after hours, choose one in a well-lit, busy location and make sure no one is watching you enter your PIN. Shield your fingers with your other hand as you enter your PIN so a camera cannot record the numbers you enter.
One more prudent protection: If someone comes to your door to deliver a package, especially if you were not expecting it, NEVER pay for it with your debit card or enter your PIN on a handheld device, no matter how much the person assures you it is safe to do so. This is yet another skimming fraud being used by criminals to get your account information. They use it to make fraudulent withdrawals and can quickly empty your account. Don’t be fooled. Just say no, and then call the credit union or the police.